Fortune School News

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December 13, 2022

In this issue:
  1. Let's Talk with Dr. Margaret Fortune
  2. But First, Culture
  3. TEAM Recognition Awards
  4. Campus Highlight: Rex & Margaret Fortune Early College High School

Let's Talk with Dr. Margaret Fortune

As we celebrate this holiday season, I want to express my gratitude for our Fortune School community. My favorite thing to do as the founder of all ten Fortune Schools is to visit classrooms and see for myself how scholars are doing in school. When scholars greet me in class, I always ask them, "Do you like your school? What do you like about it specifically? And what could we be doing better?"

It's a part of my practice to meet with principals and master teachers weekly, and I am intimately involved in the planning of the education program. We care deeply about the scholar experience. In my fifteenth year as president/CEO of Fortune School, you can still find me paying attention to the details, even as we grow. 

I am pleased to announce that we are opening Fortune Preschool in 2023. It has long been my dream to serve preschool-age children—and now we do. Fortune Preschool will serve children ages 2-4 years old. 

In this newsletter, we talk about how every year we start with making sure culture is set on our campuses, we celebrate seniors who have gained college admission with the scholarship dollars to follow, and we recognize members of our Fortune TEAM. TEAM stands for Together Everyone Achieves More. True to our collective experience, everything we do in service to our children at Fortune requires a dedicated TEAM. 

But First, Culture

Fortune Scholar uses hand signals to communicate.

Like many schools across America, we are still rebuilding after pandemic-driven school closures, hybrid instruction, and quarantines. At Fortune School, we are steadfast in our commitment to educating our scholars and we know it is not something we do alone. We rely on all the adults in our scholars' lives to help them achieve excellence every day.

One of the things that makes Fortune School unique is our observance of the cadence of the school year. We've found it useful to define the year in the following segments - Culture, Rigor, Crescendo, and Planning.

In the portion of the year focused on Culture (August - October), we teach scholars the routines for how we "do school." Our school leaders also provide intensive, weekly coaching for teachers on establishing classroom culture. We call this "setting the tone for learning."

We carry out rigorous Culture Inspections at each school site, conducting minute-by-minute observations in every classroom. We provide feedback that acknowledges success, identifies gaps, and names action steps toward continuous improvement.

We are proud of the great things we have seen at each of our campuses. We've been wowed. For example Hardy Brown College Prep, where the scholars look so sharp, has 100% of scholars in uniform, every day, all the time. We love how principals are teaching our social-emotional learning curriculum - Second Step, which addresses topics like bullying and managing big feelings.

For sure, each of our schools has growth areas we are actively working to improve. We also know that although Culture is a focus during this specific portion of the year, adherence to a culture is a year-long pursuit.


TEAM Recognition Awards

At every board meeting, the Fortune School Board of Directors recognizes Fortune School employees who exemplify our Five Pillars -- High Expectations, Choice and Commitment, More Time, Focus on Results, and Citizenship.

At the two most recent board meetings, Marquita Jones, Executive Assistant to the President/CEO; Megan Fadden, 2nd Grade Teacher, Hazel Mahone College Prep; Alejandra Mosqueda, School Secretary, Alan Rowe College Prep; Jennifer Pierce, Credential Analyst/Registrar, Fortune School of Education; and Emma Nettles, 2nd Grade Teacher, Tecoy Porter College Prep, received these awards.

Here is what their nominators had to share about them:

Campus Highlight
Rex & Margaret Fortune Early College High School

Our scholars from Rex and Margaret Fortune Early College High School attended the U-CAN Black College Fair. Congratulations to our seniors who racked up college admissions and scholarships, some of them full rides!

The United College Action Network, Inc. (U-CAN) is a nonprofit organization that provides leadership services and college preparation assistance to students desiring to enroll in four-year postsecondary colleges, with a focus on admissions to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Fortune School is proud to have named Alan Rowe College Prep, a K-5 elementary school in Elk Grove, after U-CAN's founder, Dr. Alan Rowe.

While our class of 2023 has achieved early success in their quest for college, the pursuit continues. In November, our seniors participated in an overnight retreat at Applegate Retreat Center to complete their college applications. This retreat, planned and facilitated by Assistant Principal Erik Jones, gave scholars an opportunity to focus on completing their college applications in the beauty of the Sierra Nevada foothills. In the weeks since, our scholars have expressed their gratitude. One scholar commented, "this was a really good opportunity for me to focus on my applications without the pressure of family and friends. It was cool to get so many applications finished!" 

Getting to and through college takes a village and we will continue to support our scholars as they work toward this important milestone.
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